Back to school and off to work! The post-labour day time usually coincides with supply shopping and settling in after relaxing summer vibes - but it also tends to kick off Canada’s fall real estate markets, with home buyers and homeowners looking ahead to their next steps.
However, before they make a move, buyers and sellers should get up to speed on the factors that will affect this year’s real estate landscape, ranging from the predictable to the truly surprising. Without further ado, here are the top six things that will impact Canada's fall real estate season.
Fixed Mortgage Rates
Currently hovering around 3%, an all-time low with further decreases anticipated, fall demand will be high in many parts of Canada as consumers do everything they can to take advantage of these rates.
Federal Election on October 21
Whether or not it’s warranted, elections create a real sense of insecurity and uncertainty. As a result, many consumers decide to delay real estate purchases until they know if the incoming government will modify or even cancel any of the programs and regulations affecting real estate sales and purchases. “In the lead-up to the election – that means more choice and better value for buyers that actively pursue real estate in September and October,” said Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada, whose office is based in Kelowna, B.C. Historically, federal elections dampen real estate demand, so sellers that want to maximize exposure and opportunities for their properties should likely list their homes after October 21.
Size May Not Always Matter
Everyone has a budget, and consumers can expect to pay more in Canada’s biggest, costliest cities: Namely, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. While some Canadians can afford the premium locations that come with square footage and put them close to work, shopping, green space, and more, they’re far from the majority. As a result, many urbanites with smaller budgets may compromise with a much smaller midtown or downtown condo, while others will drive or ride transit to work to get single-family home in the suburbs and outlying communities.
“People are paying more attention to how far they’ll have to commute to work because fuel prices are up and we’re all more aware of climate change and our role in it,” says Ash.
Towns and Small(er) Cities
Think outside the downtown box. Areas like Ottawa, London and Windsor in Ontario; Halifax, Sydney and Truro in Nova Scotia; and Moncton, St. John and Fredericton in New Brunswick can make sense on multiple levels. With greater job mobility and the ability to work remotely, more people are open to fresh starts in less traditional places. After all, you get more home for your money and what some consider a far more balanced, less frenetic lifestyle.
“Homebuyers that want access to the Greater Toronto Area appreciate smaller, but still vibrant cities like Ottawa, London and Windsor, which are more affordable than Kitchener-Waterloo,” says Christopher Alexander, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic Canada, Mississauga, Ont. “They have excellent infrastructure and amenities as well as road and train access to Toronto and Detroit, a major port and cultural center whose recent improvements have heightened its appeal.”
Hyper-Local Real-Estate Markets
Ask seasoned realtors about fall market trends and chances are they’ll hesitate, ponder and then hem and haw. Why? More than ever before, markets are hyper-local with trends as well as supply and demand varying significantly city to city and province to province. As a result, savvy buyers and sellers will get super local when researching markets to ensure they have the information and insight they need to make good decisions. Figure out which specific neighbourhood appeals to you, then talk to a realtor about what’s new in places like Toronto’s Leslieville, Montreal’s Outremont, Vancouver’s Kitsilano, Calgary’s Beltline or Halifax’s Westmount.
“Do your homework locally! Look at what’s happening in the specific city and as importantly, the neighbourhood you want to make your own,” says Ash. “Look for real estate agents that really specialize and know specific niches and neighbourhoods firsthand.”
Need an agent with neighbourhood expertise? Find a Local Expert today on REW.
Vacation Homes for All Ages
Every urban centre, from Vancouver to Montreal and everywhere in between, is experiencing somewhat of an exodus as residents opt for a seasonal, weekend pied-a-terre and a place to retire with leisure opportunities, a slower pace and spectacular views. Homes in these recreational communities certainly aren’t cheap but they’re more affordable than urban equivalents with multiple lifestyle benefits. That’s a dream Canadians are starting to make a reality sooner than later.
Now you're up to date on Canada's top fall home trends - let the fall markets begin, and good luck buying and/or selling!